Israel Folau 'honours' Catalans Dragons by signing new deal

Israel Folau has signed a new contract with Catalans Dragons that will keep the dual-code Australia international at Stade Gilbert Brutus until the end of 2021.

Catalans Dragons' Israel Folau in action against Salford Red Devils. (Laurent Selles/Catalan Dragons/via SWpix.com)

The former Wallabies star returned to rugby league in controversial circumstances when he joined the Perpignan-based outfit in February until the end of the season.

Folau’s capture angered many given he was sacked by Rugby Australia last year for posting homophobic comments on social media.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But the 31-year-old centre made an instant impact in Super League, scoring one try in his three appearances before the sport was shutdown due to coronavirus in March.

Catalans say, ‘despite a strong interest’ from other parties, Folau has agreed to carry on with the Super League club in 2021.

Some NRL clubs were thought to be interested in the services of a player who started out at Melbourne Storm before joining Brisbane Broncos and then moving to AFL in 2011 before switching again to union two years later.

Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch said: “His decision to stay at the club for one more season honours him.

“Once the media storm that followed his signing passed, and after only three Super League appearances, he received many requests and became a highly demanded player.

“But he feels gratitude for the club. He’s shown he is a respectful player since he arrived at the club.

“He will be 32 years old at the end of his new contract and we will then think about the rest of his career.”

The ex-Queensland State of Origin and Kangaroos star explained: “Me and my family are very excited to stay on at the club for season 2021.

“We're very grateful for the opportunity that Bernard Guasch and the Dragons have given me.

“I'm looking forward to working hard and achieving great success on the field with my team mates and this great club.

Catalans coach Steve McNamara added: “We are delighted that Israel has committed to the Dragons for 2021.

“The most impressive asset he showed in the short period before the confinement was his willingness to work hard for the team.

“On top of that he clearly is a great athlete with a tremendous skill set. We look forward to seeing him continually improve and have an even greater influence over the team’s performances through 2020 and 2021.”

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson

Editor